Asia - Pacific

India: President signs controversial citizenship law

Passed by parliament on Wednesday, law enters into force after president's signature

Ahmad Adil   | 13.12.2019
India: President signs controversial citizenship law


Indian President Ram Nath Kovind signed the new citizenship law which will bring controversial changes to the legislation, local media reported on Thursday.

“According to an official notification, the act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette on Thursday.

“According to the act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till Dec. 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship,” local news broadcaster News18 said.

India’s parliament Wednesday passed a bill that would grant citizenship to six minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh -- all Muslim-majority nations in South Asia.

The bill was coupled by statements of Indian officials saying minorities in the three countries were not safe that drew strong reactions from Bangladesh.

The new bill passed by the parliament has triggered massive condemnation and protests in many parts of India, especially in its northeastern provinces.

The people defied the curfew in Assam state on Thursday morning to stage protests as the situation remained tense with the army conducting flag march in Guwahati. At least two people were reportedly killed in Assam as the security forces allegedly opened fire on the protesters during the massive protests.

Guwahati, the epicenter of protests, was placed under indefinite curfew on Wednesday night while the army was called in at four places and paramilitary personnel were deployed in Tripura on Wednesday as the two northeastern states plunged into chaos.

Train services to Assam and Tripura provinces have been halted while many air flights have been cancelled.

Neighboring Meghalaya also withdrew the mobile internet and messaging services across the province for the next 48 hours due to the deteriorating law and order situation triggered by protests over the controversial bill.

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